Getting the most from twitter
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I’m still learning what twitter is all about. I’ve been using it for about 13 months.
Even though it’s all an experiment, it’s not unusual for twitter to identify my tweets as Top Tweets. This Sunday afternoon, I held all three Top Tweets in the leadership category. Much of that ranking is contingent on who is online using the #leadership hashtag.
Steve NeSmith, Senior Director of Online Content, Social Media and Email Marketing for the Dave Ramsey organization, suggested I survey my twitter tribe to see their thoughts on how I’m doing.
I’ve been experimenting with tweet frequency and content. I’ve tweeted as much as three or four times an hour. On the other end I’ve tweeted just a few times a day.
I’ve read you should tweet 12x times for others before tweeting your own content. I rejected that artificial suggestion. Most of my tweets are quotes and links with few reflecting conversations. I typically direct message (DM) personal conversations. In addition, Most of the links I tweet are to my own work.
I followed Steve’s suggestion and created a three question survey on surveymonkey.com. The free version only tracks the first 100 results.
The 21 comments included suggestions from one time per day to, “As much as you like.”
The frequency of tweets with links to tweets without links isn’t much of a factor. Most of my tweets with links have a quotable sentences attached.
In my opinion, the third question wasn’t worded well. I intended it to reflect the use of twitter primarily as a leadership resource and not as a personal relationship tool. I don’t think the survey results answer that question.
These results are offered for the good of the twitter users in the Leadership Freak community. Feel free to add your input.
My conversation with Steve NeSmith: Are you becoming Irrelevant?
I agree that the third question probably didn’t assess what you intended. That said, I think the results suggest your tribe likes to read quotes and receive links via twitter. That’s useful information!
Interesting feedback Dan and thanks for sharing. I have to say I personally am happy with your content and frequency and on my tweetdeck have #leadership as a column, meaning whatever I miss that you tweet, someone is bound to retweet. I am not sure what this feedback gives you in terms of guidance and best approach, but gut instinct rules here, hence your refusal to not go with “artificial suggestions”. It is hard to believe you have been on twitter for 13 months. Quite an impact that you have made then.
I found you through twitter and have enjoyed your blog every day since. You’ve done an amazing job of building a following in such a short time. I always gain something from what you have to say, so keep up the good work!
Interesting research Dan. I think the frequency of tweets and the content depends on how your followers use twitter.
If people always defer to the default timeline that shows tweets from all the people they are following then chances are they may not even see your tweet. In this case, they may be indifferent to the frequency of tweets.
On the other hand, if people are following a specific list, group, or #hashtag, the chances of seeing your tweets increases. In this case, if every tweet is captured and read, they may be overwhelmed by your content alone.
While some people more than others may rely on twitter as a source of information, frequent tweets may increase their chances of discovering your content.
As for what works and what doesn’t to direct traffic to your blog, I’m sure the Site Stats are a telling indicator. Fortunately, I subscribe to your blog and didn’t have to worry about missing the tweet for this post! I highly recommend others to do the same.
Thanks for admitting that you’re still learning about Twitter after 13 months. I feel the same way after about 4 months. Your Twitter presence, combined with your blog, is a great resource, I hope it’s helping you meet your own objectives — I’d be curious to hear if it is!.
I think the fact that you did this post is an example of the kind of thing we talk about on LF every day – always being willing to ask questions and be self-critical (or self constructive?) to make things better.
I worry about the fact that I “dream in Twitter” sometimes – seeing hashtags and @ signs floating across my consciousness – maybe that’s a topic for a therapist instead of a Leadership Post!
That said, here’s my take: I am a “plain Twitter” user – if I am at work I don’t use Hootsuite or any of those programs – whenever I have tried, there seem to be other issues with the windows I have open so my only access is to pop in to “regular Twitter” occasionally. Therefore, it is not my perception that you Tweet “too much” – I intentionally seek out your posts in the morning in order to RT that day’s post and when I check my mentions I am overjoyed if I happen to have gotten a mention! I suppose my theory about your strategy (which may be completely off) is that you were using some kind of “auto scheduler” because I see such a mix of “classic” posts and comments at relatively unusual times that I think “surely Dan isn’t sitting there with a handwritten or manual schedule tweeting this. I had thought about pulling some of my older blog posts that newer acquaintances may not have been exposed to and tweeting as “classics” and kind of wondered how you do it. Making you a role model for that kind of thing, I suppose!
And as far as “how much is too much” of your own stuff, I tend to tweet a new post three times that day – morning, afternoon, evening and then if a topic comes up that I have posted on before (my cyberbullying post, for example), I publish it addressed to whoever brought up the topic.
I am glad you raised this!
I wouldn’t be so concerned about what others suggest because what you offer is unique – your success speaks for itself. What other engenders such rich conversations? Who else consistently shows up in the top tweets in the general field of leadership? I think it’s great to ask your own tribe for feedback. Other than that, I’d encourage you to continue experimenting and trust your instincts. Its served you well so far.
Personally, I find your down to earth, conversational approach inviting. You stimulate my own thinking without giving me all the answers. Your advice to me as I’ve begun my own blog has been quite helpful.
I’m with the group that says “whatever you do is fine with me.”
I am a “twitter toddler” who is still at the bottom of the learning curve and just starting to realize my mistakes. I am struggling with how many times (and over how many days) to tweet links to the same post. Where is the balance between being seen and being annoying?
I found your post very helpful! Thank you!
Thanks for your comment.
Here’s where I’m at today. Be sensitive to others. For me it generally means fewer tweets.
The other side of that coin is determine your own goals and rhythm and let those that align with you follow you.
I tried recycling the same tweets thinking that different people are on at different times. In general, people find that irritating. However, sometimes an old tweet really hits me so I tweet it again.
Just some thoughts. It’s all an experiment.
Another aspect of this discussion is the integration of other social media. I suppose this is a topic for a different post, but I find that I do not visit the Facebook “coffee shop” as much. Partially it is a time constraint, and partially I feel that my comments there would probably mirror the ones on Facebook (depending on the topic) but I sometimes wonder what I am missing!
Great feedback. You’re somewhat of a twitter guru (without breaking a sweat) considering your readership and great mix of content. Twitter leadership if you will.
Great post! I love how the modern “experts” (especially the Social Media ones) seem to want to direct users how to perform the tasks you should do when using the application for business and want to define the culture of the application. I would rather they sit back for awhile and watch what’s happening and how the culture is evolving. I think more people would use twitter if the “experts” didn’t try to turn it into some high brow, functional tool. I hosted a two-part, industry-specificTwitter training and the biggest piece of feedback I received was, “Really? That’s it?” lol
All of this is stated with, of course, keeping in mind it is SOCIAL media, so you have to have some inkling of social skill to succeed with it.
Great post again!
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